06 February 2012

waiting for my miracle - Part I

Aside from my counselor, women in group meeting and those I've met anonymously online, I haven't shared this with anyone.  After typing that, it seems like a lot of people, but to put it in other words that better express the point I'm trying to make- I haven't discussed this with anyone who knew me before it happened.  My husband has talked with our bishop and his dad, but otherwise the same is true for him.

I've desperately longed to reach out to a friend or family member. I've spent a significant amount of time pondering who I could trust with this information, to be understanding and supportive.  The obvious answer for me was my older brother, who having endured trials of his own has been transformed into a more compassionate and non-judgemental person. 

I approached Pete about talking with my brother and he was adamantly opposed to it.  He suggested I ask my fellow group members what they thought, and perhaps ask my counselor her opinion.  The first time I asked the women at group how they had handled this issue, I got mixed responses.  Some said they had a trusted friend they shared with, others a sibling or parent.  Some had kept the secret to themselves, loyal to their husband's requests for privacy. 

My counselor gave me a vague and mixed response that suggested that doing so could be both harmful and helpful.  Talk about confusing.  She said "We discourage that, because often something called 'triangulation' takes place, where the involvement of a third party hampers the communication of the husband and wife... BUT we also believe it is important to find a long-term source of support and it is often difficult for the husband to fulfill this role because of his guilt and involvement."

I continued to pray and ponder.  I finally decided on a compromise - and wrote out an email that was vague but explained to my brother that my marriage had been suffering, but we were seeking help.  I didn't mention pornography, just that this last year had been extremely difficult for me and although I am optimistic and hopeful, I have suffered.  Without posting the entire message here I feel I can not do it justice.  But it was good.  I did not send it to my brother but sent it to Pete instead.

He still refused.

I was devastated.

The longing I feel to share this burden with someone who knows and loves me is intense. 

When he denied my request again I couldn't imagine the longing would ever go away until I could finally release this secret. 


  1. First, thank you so much for writing this blog. It has helped me when I have felt so alone.
    I can relate so much to wanting to have someone to talk to or cry to. For most of my married life (23 years/6 kids) I have felt like I have to pretend that everything is wonderful. Most people would probably say that I am a happy person. Sometimes when I am alone I completely fall apart but have to pull myself together so I can go out into the world and pretend that everything is good. I feel like this is one reason it is so painful-because we have to keep it all in.
    There is a part of me that wants to come completely out in the open- tell my family, my husbands family, and my kids. I feel like that could help me heal and hopefully save someone else. (I have four boys and I am afraid the same thing could happen to them.)

    p.s. Your husband gets to talk to his dad. I am sure that is very helpful to him. I hope he can understad that you need someone to talk to also. (I have learned through therapy that my husband is very controlling and I have been extremely co-dependent. I am working on myself and have realized that making him happy isn't always the right thing to do.)

  2. Thank you for your comment. And thank you for reading. I agree with you- I long for the day when we can come out completely- I think we really could be more helpful that way. I wish I could tell all my friends, just so the ones who need love and support would know I'm here too.

    Wishing you the best on your journey!

  3. Anonymous--my heart aches for you. Do you go to group meetings? I just went to my first last night and it was great. I wish you could confide in someone.

    I have told two of my friends. The first a couple years ago so I could post anonymously on her blog. She has never actually talked to me about it, but she knows. I don't blame her for not talking to me about it since (as far as I know) she doesn't have the same struggle and may feel uncomfortable, and she has her own very big trial in life and I don't expect her to worry much about mine. The second friend was awesome and had experienced a similar struggle in her marriage. It was so nice to talk to her about it. She has a very level head and great perspective. I long to tell some of my family, but I still haven't. Luckily my husband understands that I can't do this alone. If I really really wanted to tell my mom or sister, he would be okay with it. Partly because he knows that he doesn't have the right to tell me who I can and can't talk to about what I'm going through in my life. It may be his problem, but I'm suffering as well. He knows it's not right to force me into secrecy just because he's ashamed. But I keep it a secret for the most part out of love and respect for him since he's working hard.

  4. Sadly my situation happened in a way that many family members knew at least some of what the struggle was about in our marriage. They didn't know details but they knew enough. I wanted to share more of how this situation was affecting me personally, but I still did my best for 3 years to keep as much as I could to myself and to my husband's parents because I knew they would still love him no matter what I said. I really wanted to forgive and be a good supporting wife.

    I think it has actually been even more of a burden to have my family members know what they know. They have had so many concerns and opinions and don't seem to be as forgiving since they don't get to be here to see the progress and changes and since they don't feel the same level of love that I feel for my husband.

    But a few months ago, I really messed up. I thought I was following the Spirit. A sister-in-law had some questions which led me to worry that maybe she needed to know some warning signs that pornography might be a problem in her marriage too. As she kept questioning me, my protective nature was triggered so deeply I decided to just open up and tell her my view of how things started and progressed into pornography ( now that I have the hindsight of looking back, it is pretty obvious what was going on in our marriage even though It took a while for me to recognize it while experiencing it and I thought I could help someone else recognize the signs earlier and get much needed help sooner that I did). Anyway . . .It was a mistake to share details of what happened in our marriage and how I felt inside. I know the reason for wanting to share was out of concern for her, but I learned that she really didn't need to be burdened with that level of suffering. And now she has to deal with looking at her marriage differently and suspiciously --even though there may not actually be problems--and she has to try to learn to forgive my husband too.

    I wish I would not have given in and shared what I did. I got the long craved for sympathy and she reached out to me with love. But the burden I left on her wasn't worth it. Why should she have to have her eyes opened to the ugliness around us when she doesn't need to? And it re-opened the pain for my husband again. I didn't mean to do anything more than help her. But I don't think it really did. If I had it to do over again, I would have said something like: "Yes, you know I know the pain of dealing with a struggling marriage because of pornography, and it is easy to be concerned that it could happen in your marriage as well. If you are concerned, look up the church website on pornography and study the sign and symptoms. Pray for yourself and I know you will be guided in the right direction if there is a problem in your marriage.

    I know your situation is different, I just hope you will be smarter than I was and stick to your desire to share only when and what you are told to do by the Spirit. I now would err on the side of sharing too little if I am unsure of the source of my desire to share.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. I appreciate hearing different perspectives, and I appreciate your honesty. I also admire your kind heart, for thinking unselfishly, first how you wanted to help, and then later how you burdened her. You must be a very kind and compassionate person, and your family members are lucky to have you.